Home Decor Tricks Every Woman Should Know
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Picture Perfect1 of 11
By Mariel Goodson
A few simple tricks are all it takes to transform ho-hum home decor into magazine-worthy high design. Here, top interior gurus reveal their secrets for staging a stunning home fit for a double-page spread.
Float On2 of 11
The key to creating a living room with fabulous flow? Float furniture away from walls rather than pushing it up against them, which "actually makes the space feel smaller," says Simone Howell, an interior designer with Decorist.com. Moving heavy sofas and chairs can be hard labor, so consult Floorplanner.com to map out a mock-up before breaking a sweat.
Mix Master3 of 11
Mix and match prints like a pro by following the rule of three: First select a large-scale pattern with a variety of colors—like a vibrant floral—to use as your baseline. Second, pull in a medium-scale pattern like a stripe, which features three of those colors, then a small-scale geometric pattern with no more than two of those colors. "Everything has a common denominator which brings order to the look," says Howell. Use large prints on big pieces like upholstered furniture, and more delicate prints on smaller items like accent lamps.
Sofa, So Good4 of 11
The most basic sofa can look photo-worthy if you decorate with the right throw pillows. The key? "Vary the sizes and shapes," says Meridith Baer, host of Staged to Perfection and founder of Meridith Baer Home. A winning formula: a pair of matching 18- or 24-inch square pillows; a long rectangular pillow to anchor the center of the couch; then a pair of round pillows to break up the angles.
Sweet Dreams5 of 11
To upgrade an average-looking bed, cover a down comforter and four Euro pillows in crisp white Egyptian cotton, then drape a chunky textured throw on the end. "Stick with whites and one or two accent pillows to avoid piling on clutter," says Howell. Even better? Invest in a pillow-top mattress pad to get that fluffy, hotel-style under-layer.
Ground Control6 of 11
Choosing an area rug can be tricky as it needs to fit both the scale of the room and the furniture. Take Howell's advice and pull out your measuring tape: "A rug should be no more than two feet and no less than six inches from the edges of the walls." In the dining room, ensure the rug is large enough that all four chair-legs rest comfortably on top, that way no one's teetering while trying to eat.
Coffee Talk7 of 11
A well-decorated coffee table completes a stylish living room. The secret? Arrange a collection of odd-numbered objects—three or five—with varying heights. Howell's go-to grouping: "Fresh-cut flowers or a houseplant, a white candle to add atmosphere, and a personal accessory," whether it's a bone-inlay tray from your recent travels or your favorite photography book. "Coffee tables are also notorious catchalls, so hide utilitarian objects like TV remotes in decorative boxes," she adds.
Hang Time8 of 11
Instead of installing Roman shades inside your window frames, hang them three to four inches above the trim. Flank the shade with drapery panels hung at the same height and "you'll trick the eye into thinking the ceilings are much higher, and the windows are much bigger," says Howell.
Light the Way9 of 11
The right lighting can make or break a room. "Rather than relying on one high-beam hanging fixture, create ambient lighting by scattering floor and table lamps at different heights," says Baer. Pot lights and track lighting are typically too bright and can cast unflattering shadows, so only install them in utilitarian spaces like a kitchen or laundry room.
Color Scheme10 of 11
Expand cramped quarters by painting walls in a light, cool-tone color, says Howell. Try an oil-base paint in a high-gloss finish: The subtle reflection will bounce light, much like an oversize floor mirror—another great way create the illusion of more space.
Bathing Beauty11 of 11
Before you demo a drab bathroom, look to more affordable ways to improve the space. Surprising decorative touches will help draw the eye away from outdated floors, fixtures and countertops. Ditch the boring bathmat in favor of a water-resistant rug in an exotic print and add drama with a sparkling chandelier or oversize artwork, which makes a big impact in a small space, says Howell.
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